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Bitcoin & Ripple used by everybody?

It’s really difficult for the average person to understand how digital money works if only because it’s unfamiliar. The average person has conquered complex technology before, though, and digital money is getting better. In that case, Bitcoin and Ripple may become household words.

My feeling about Ripple is that it, or something very like it is going to be used for micro-payments for the average person worldwide. It may be that in the near future Bitcoin and Ripple will run in parallel channels, mutually beneficial to one another. Yes, it might be commercialized just like the web was when .com was added at the end of web sites rather than .org. The wealthy may gravitate to one and the rest of civilization gravitate to the other. Commerce has shifted many times in history.

I agree with Charles C. Mann

I’m reading a book titled 1493. It’s about ecological globalization. It tells about how quickly the world globalized after Columbus landed in the Carribean, which led to the Spanish trading with the Chinese in the Philipines from the new route. The book is by Charles C. Mann. He says, “Nothing like this worldwide exchange had existed before…nor had they operated on a scale large enough to disrupt societies on opposite sides of the planet . . . the worldwide network is still viewed w/ unease, even by many of its beneficiaries anti-globalization . . . In the end, though, they lost, each and everyone of them.”

I’m guessing that we are watching a seismic globalization of commerce. Merchants need speed in the money exchange, frictionless transactions. Google and Amazon-like businesses are hungry for territory, the poor are hungry for opportunity. Give them a phone and some Ripple XRP, and watch them acclimate. Today’s commerce is far behind what the market can handle. This won’t be linear; it will be exponential technological change. It won’t be just one technological change. When one change erupts others come along. I think what we are seeing is strong emergent system that ignores borders.

I disagree with Jon Matonis.

“Ripple’s trusted pathways are unlikely to be formed between people who are not already connected socially, he added. “Someone in Japan is not going to care about someone’s reputation in California,” he said. “I see Ripple being used more in localized, regional community environments rather than as a global international application like gold or Bitcoins,”

Does Matonis forget about the students in colleges and Universities the US, and Canada, worldwide for that matter, who have connections in Japan and other places, the student who needs money for an emergency, now, not in 48 hours or not in a week? Does he forget about the refugees from Africa and Egypt, and the immigrants from Mexico who have family who could use their help or vice versa?

Does Matonis forget about our military strewn about the world who have trust relationships? Walk through Union Station in Washington DC, that’s almost what the US population looks like now, it’s international. The average American is a myth. There is a trust network far greater than he imagines. And the trust from that group that will branch out will be exponential. Each family will bring friends of friends of friends.

Could it be that Ripple is going to be larger than Bitcoin, and actually be the unexpected concept that changes the world? This remark on reddit about the average person caught my attention.

We Are the Hosts of the Let’s Talk Bitcoin! Show! We just spent 4 days at Bitcoin2013, Ask Us Anything!

Bitcoin is important for the average person. We just forget who the average person is.

*The average person is a South-East Asian male, aged 22 without any bank account, access to credit or ability to participate easily in the global economy.

The reason Bitcoin fascinates me is that it embodies the possibility of bringing the other 6.5 billion online into the global economy on a level playing field.

Even in the US, 18% or more of the population are “unbanked” – lacking credit, legal status, or access to banking services. In the rest of the world, the unbanked are much higher percentages of the population. Some estimated by the UN and others put them as high as 6-6.5 billion.

Bitcoin can change all that and make it possible for anyone with a cellphone or an Internet kiosk or share computer to acquire the means to transact internationally with very small fees. It changes everything

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NERVOUS ABOUT THE BITCOIN GAME?

Like me, you’ve probably read about the couple who invested when Bitcoin was a nickel and cashed out when it skyrocketed,  and now they’re millionaires, and you’ve heard sound bites about Google Ventures investing in “Ripple” — whatever Ripple is.

The black-market slash Silk Road chatter is dying down and this thing looks like it might become legit, and might take off.  The Wall Street Journal headline reads Bitcoin Startups Begin to Attract Real Cash. And, Forbes, Kashmir Hill writes about living on Bitcoin for a week or Bitcoin 2.0: Can Ripple Make Digital Currency Mainstream?

Think if you will an updated more efficient Paypal account whereby you can now buy select goods from Etsy members or buy a Pizza from a local Bitcoin merchant, or whereby “BitPay is [now] integrated with Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), so you can accept BTC payments on your website, and automatically have Amazon ship the merchandise.”

You’re ready to try it. You’re intrigued but none of it makes sense because you’re not going to buy a $2000 dollar ASIC Bitcoin Miner to get a Bitcoin to experiment with. You want to date Bitcoin not marry it. After all this is a blind date. And we’ve heard about those.

CONVERT SMALL AMOUNTS UNTIL YOU ARE COMFORTABLE

There are  less expensive ways to understand crypto currency before you commit to it than mining. Then if you get hooked on Bitcoin, and are one of the very few who immerse themselves into the culture, then Bitcoin mining is an exciting, James Bondish way to increase your wealth.

The easiest way I’ve found is to open an account at Ripple open wallet and fund the account at Ripple Union Gift Card Exchange. Open wallet for Ripple is free, it’s activates immediately. Ripple Union Gift Card Exchange is an inexpensive way to fund  your first wallet.

The Amazon.ca gift card should be at least the amount of the gift card plus the $2.00 fee. My first gift card was for $5.00 ($2.00 fee included), you can purchase, which will give your account more than enough Ripple XRP to grant a trust, so you can begin trading. RippleXRP can be exchanged for Bitcoin once you have accumulated enough Ripple XRP, US dollar, Euro, or currency of your choice. You are now in a position to see how Bitcoin and Ripple work in your world.

“The concept, community, and [Ripple] technology are from 2004. The new implementation and creation of a start-up company all happened earlier this year.” 

Ripple is still in beta. It’s been described as one of the least risky Bitcoin APIs, but Ponuleus on reddit said it best, “NEVER keep excessive amounts of funds in any of such payment processor systems.” That said, OpenCoin  is the firm behind the Bitcoin exchange Ripple, and Google is putting their money behind Ripple.

If you need more reassurance, you might like to read about OpenCoin the firm behind Ripple at Google Ventures invests in OpenCoin, the firm behind Bitcoin exchange Ripple or  Now Backed By Andreessen & More, OpenCoin Looks To Build A Better Bitcoin — And A Universal Payment Ecosystem, OpenCoin | 2020Here’s another helpful link on how Ripple works.

RIPPLEUNION GIFT CARD EXCHANGE

RippleUnion Gift Card Exchange is a user friendly site that I use that allows me to fund a Ripple account with Amazon.ca gift certificates. I buy an Amazon.ca gift card certificate for myself, and I email the card’s code to RippleUnion Gift where I exchange it for RippleUnion CAD IOUS, which I can use to buy XRP or anything else. (I email the gift code to giftscards@rippleunion.com along with the address for my Ripple Open Wallet account.) My wallet address is public, I share it with the world. Your Ripple address will look like the address below.

You can view my transactions at Ripple Live at wallet address: 

rp9TzPE7hKS1AWujmN89LwpVLg1xXyVJEB

 To see what transactions look like between Ripple Union Gift Card Exchange and my Ripple account go to the Ripple Live page. In the upper left corner of the site where the address box is, copy and paste my Ripple address from above into the box and click GO.

You can see all my transactions with Ripple Union Gift Cards gateway including our first transaction. If you like, after you get your Ripple XRP you can send me 1 XRP (value less than 1 penny today) to this address. I’ll return it to you. This is a check to help you see how it’s working for you. You can then go to the Ripple Live page, paste your Ripple address into the box, and you can see the genesis of your Ripple ledger.

 You can exchange as much as $25.00 gift card every ten days. At this time RippleUnion will add 500 Ripple XRP to an empty account, and return any money due in Canadian dollars. Or if you already have a few Ripple XRP in your wallet, then it will top it off to 500 R-XRP, and credit your account with the change in Canadian dollars, which you can convert to US dollars if you like.

Weber: Ripple, like the traditional banking system, is a system for tracking debt between parties.  You trust some entity to borrow cash from you (just like you loan your money to the bank when you deposit it there), and in return you get a balance that can be traded with anyone else who also trusts that entity.  Ripple takes this one step further, allowing you to trade this so-called “IOU balance” to anyone who trusts someone who trusts the entity, etc, so that people all around the world can be paid as long as there is a path for liquidity between them and you

WHO IS RIPPLE UNION GIFT CARD EXCHANGE?

Ripple Union Gift Card Exchange is the brilliantly crafted, easy to use gateway service that Stephen Paul Weber  and Jonathan Lamothe launched to help the Ripple community catch on.

Weber, who is singpolyma on Reddit says, “My partner and I are long-time Ripple users (I’ve been using Ripple since about 2004, maybe 2005).  When the new one launched, we knew there was going to be a demand for gateway-like services, so we just kept our eyes on the community for ideas of what would work. Ripple as a technology is already seeing great strides in this new incarnation.  A lot more exposure (mostly because we never tried to do any marketing on the old system, since we all were waiting for a distributed version to get built by someone).

I interned with a startup called AideRSS (later PostRank) for the whole life of the company, which was then sold to Google, where I worked for 4 months.  After turning down a full-time offer from Google I moved on to artbarnlabs.com, where I am currently a partner.

My partner at RippleUnion, Jonathan Lamothe, has been with Ripple since 2010ish.  He works in low-level systems automation programming and services, having worked up through the ranks from a line worked at the same firm (he lacks a degree, but makes up for that by being more awesome than a lot of people who have degrees 🙂 ).”

CREATING A VIRTUAL (CRYPTO) WALLET

Maybe you’ve wandered over to reddit, maybe someone there explained Bitcoin in a thousand words or less, and maybe it’s still not clear, maybe you’re as mystified as you were to begin with. Then a redditor suggests that the best way to understand Bitcoin is to try it, so just for shite & giggles, you open your first virtual (crypto) wallet, its a either a Block Chain or a Ripple wallet, and it doesn’t look a thing like anything you’ve experienced before. Below are sample wallets.

WALLET CHOICE: RIPPLE WALLET OR BLOCK CHAIN WALLET
Two wallets are especially good for beginners as well as for pros: Ripple and Block Chain. Of the two wallets, ripple is the one I recommend to beginners. Both wallets are free, and do not require cash or credit card information. They do require an email address. If you like you can set special email address to use for this account only, one up especially if you are trying out ripple.

HOW TO SET UP A RIPPLE WALLET
Step 1 How to Set Up Virtual Wallet (RIPPLE Or BLOCKCHAIN)
Step 2 How to Back Up Virtual Wallet (RIPPLE OR BLOCKCHAIN – DROPBOX)
Step 3 Two Simple and Inexpensive Pathways to Fund a Ripple Wallet
a. Fund Ripple Wallet From A Friend for Free
b. Fund Ripple Wallet From A RippleUnion Gift Gateway – $5 – $25.00 (scroll down page for step-by-step illustrated guidelines)

CRYPTO LAW

Ripple Union Gift Card Exchange is located in Ontario Canada. If you’d like to read more on Canadian law for Bitcoin exchanges, see Canadian regulators welcome US Bitcoin refugees with open arms. Also, interesting is the FINTRAC letter that’s discussed in this story,  Canada becomes bitcoin-friendly FinTRAC does not see the need to regulate several Bitcoin exchange models at Pokerati.

NEW RELEASEImage

 

This guy’s book will cost 0.1 Bitcoin or approx. 2700 ripples if you care to convert your hoard to Bitcoin, which is about $11.64 (amirite or amiwrong?) When the book debuts on Amazon June 3, 2013,  it will cost $4.99 on Whisper net. It’s available pre-order on Amazon, only.

If anyone orders this book would you please let me know how easy (difficult) it was to buy the first book w/ Bitcoin.

BIOGRAPHY

CHOOSING YOURSELF by James Altucher, James Altucher is an American hedge fund manager, entrepreneur, and author. He has founded or cofounded over 20 companies, including Reset Inc. and StockPickr. Wikipedia

Found “Choose Yourself” review in a BUSINESS INSIDER story.

ALTUCHER QUOTE

I’ve made money, I’ve lost money. I’ve lost my home/family/friends. I’ve made some of the above back. I’ve gotten really lucky. Several times. With determination I’ll make it stick, and I think you will also.

 

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Bit Coin fascinates me not because it is a get-rich-scheme or a convenient way to buy weed off the grid, which I don’t smoke, but don’t mind if anyone else does, or because I’m a Libertarian with gold on hand, I’m not. Bit Coins are the perfect storm heading our way, and the perfect opportunity.

Bit Coins or Bit currencies are the tip of the “Fat Tail.” Fat tails “are events that appear highly unlikely to occur but that are earth-moving when they do.” Bit coin is the Cat 5 hurricane coming to you and me in the next five to ten years. It could be your best friend or your worst enemy depending on how world wide acceptance shakes out.

Bit currency is an emergent electronic payment system similar to Pay-Pal, which is an over simplistic way towards explaining it but about the best I can do. It’s an electronic money system whereby we all could become merchants. It’s a system where a few law abiding entrepreneurs now pay for a pizza or buy a WordPress site or sell yard sale items without a credit card or without cash. It’s a money-medium that’s convenient for not-so law-abiding people to buy and sell items, or move money they don’t want traced. It’s a money system without bill collectors. It’s permanent; you can’t get your money back. All sales are final.

Speculators are drawn to it. It has a future. It’s security is okay — that is until you cash out your cyber bits in exchange for dollars. That’s a crack in the system right now. There are robbers waiting to take your money when you cash out. It helps if you’re tech savvy. And, oh yea, speculators may try to crash the currency so they can buy it back from you when the price drops like it recently did. Or you may lose your encrypted back up file or accidentally wipe it out, and your Bit coins are gone. Yet, this nascent system is the tail end of the hurricane.

Since it’s an emergent system, it’s also similar to a snowflake or a termite cathedral or DNA replication or Wolfram’s computations where a pattern begins simply but generates complex designs over replication. Like DNA something pleasing might come from it like a baby or like the termite cathedral something not altogether likable. Emergent systems like Bit Coin don’t emerge in a vacuum, they bring other systems to the forefront with them, hence complexity.

Eric Schmidt, Googleplex person, says that by 2020 the entire world will be online. If so, we will want to buy and sell from our neighbors, which will include the entire world, which will require other emergent systems as helpers. If that’s so, a fairly secure Bit currency is going to be necessary, a stronger Maker culture will most likely be put in place, and a faster transportation system might have evolved.

We’ll need a world wide communication system to propel the buying and selling, and making, and a same day world wide system for delivery of concrete goods, and a maybe an unsettling shift in government. But like termites when disturbed governments are self-organizing, and seem to fare well after turmoil, coming back stronger and we should hope, more democratized.

A fairly secure Bit currency: Fairly secure but not absolutely secure Bit currency with a fast connection, and maybe free phones, is all that’s keeping us from buying instant art from an African artist in Timbuktu or hand knit wool socks from North Korea (well maybe more). The network doesn’t need to be absolutely secure, just secure enough. If products were cheap enough that I could afford to lose money on a small percentage of my purchases or sales, then it would would work as a currency. If we accepted a small loss it could work. It might be called fuzzy accounting for Bit currency instead of bank or credit card accounting where each penny is accounted for, and an over-priced transaction fee is charged.

A healthy Maker culture: Couple Bit currency/micro payments with a home or community based, Maker printer, and an artist living in Timbuktu, Africa, could send me her sculpture plan, created in her village, or the North Korean, homemaker could send me his sock design created in his village, ready to print anywhere in the world on a Maker printer in any suitable medium, be it yarn, wood, plastic, or steel. Or if the fat tail is really fat, and imaginative, those original North Korean socks could be delivered same day by a transport fueled with a NASA UW fusion rocket recently proposed to reach Mars within 30 days. Far fetched, maybe, but … I’m still waiting for my robot.

So, why should Bit currency matter to you and me? Bit currency is an emerging technology that’s going to revolutionize commerce. It may not stay in the present form but mutate into something we haven’t anticipated yet. Whatever it is when Bit Coin was unleashed it was like going through a gate that had a one way spring, there is no going back — Bit currency is here, and it’s a reality. Oh, yea, there are going to be Bit currency billionaires made just like railroad moguls and oil barons. Wouldn’t you like to be one of them.